Crystal Palace appoint former Liverpool and England manager Roy Hodgson as Frank de Boer’s replacement

Crystal Palace have confirmed the appointment of Roy Hodgson as their new manager in place of the sacked Frank de Boer.

De Boer departed on Monday, only 77 days into a three-year contract, after Palace became the first team in England’s top division to lose their opening four league fixtures without scoring since Preston 93 years ago.

At 70 years and 34 days old, Hodgson is the oldest man to be appointed as a permanent manager in the Premier League.

Ray Lewington, a former Palace caretaker boss, who worked with Hodgson at England and Fulham, has been named as his assistant.

A new first-team coach will be announced shortly.

Hodgson, who was also approached when Sam Allardyce was appointed to succeed Alan Pardew at Palace in December, takes on his first managerial role since resigning from the England post after Euro 2016.

The 70-year-old last worked in the Premier League with West Brom in 2012 before leaving to become England manager.

A year earlier he had inspired them, as he did similarly relegation-threatened Fulham in 2007-08, to survival.
Between his time at Fulham and West Brom, Hodgson had an unsuccessful spell at Liverpool that lasted only six months.

The Croydon-born Hodgson will be returning to the club with whom he began his playing career in 1965.

He spent three years on Palace’s books as a young defender in the 1960s before leaving without making an appearance.

He will take charge for Palace’s Premier League game against Southampton on Saturday at Selhurst Park.

Palace represent Hodgson’s fifth Premier League appointment of his managerial career, after Blackburn, Fulham, Liverpool and West Brom.

He told the official Palace website:

“This is very much the club of my boyhood, and I remember in my youth watching the club from the terraces at the Holmesdale Road end which gave me such fond memories.
“In those days I had dreams of playing for the team, then as a coach you think about coaching the team, and a lot has happened in between times.
“It is very rewarding to find myself here now, in different times, as the Palace manager at a club that I have always loved and admired with a huge potential.
“We are the club of south London, with an enormously large fanbase. The ambitions here are realistic, there is an enormous potential for growth and I hope we can achieve our goals.”

Hodgson was adamant his new side can shrug off their dismal start to the season.
He said:

“I don’t honestly believe that there is necessarily a lot that needs to be done.
“You can always get off to a bad start, [but] what we’ve got to remember is our fate will be decided after 38 games, not four.
“We’ve got to work hard to get back on track but I know that my attitude is shared by the players and it is my job to let them know what I want from them.”

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Manchester United confirm Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s exit

Manchester United have confirmed Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be released on June 30, ending his one-year spell with the club.

Ibrahimovic was named on the official list of players let go by England’s top-flight clubs after United chose – to date – not to renew the Swede’s 12-month contract, which expires on June 30, or take up the option to extend it by a year.

The striker scored 28 goals for United following his move last summer but his future was thrown into doubt by a season-ending knee injury in April.

John Terry has also been confirmed as a free agent after leaving Chelsea while Gael Clichy, Jesus Navas, Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Willy Caballero are all among those released by Manchester City.

Sam Allardyce quits as manager of Crystal Palace  – hints  at retirement 

​Sam Allardyce has left his job as Crystal Palace manager after just five months in charge at Selhurst Park, stating that he has “no ambition to take another job” in football.

Allardyce told Palace owner Steve Parish of his desire to leave the club during a meeting in central London on Tuesday.

The 62-year-old signed a two-and-a-half-year deal when he was appointed as Palace boss in December – less than three months after leaving his role with England – and managed to keep the club in the Premier League, lifting them from 17th to 14th.

“In some ways, this has been a very difficult decision to make but in others it has been a simple one,” Allardyce said in a statement released by his representative.

“I will always be grateful to Crystal Palace and Steve Parish for giving me the opportunity to go out with my head held high having helped keep the club in the Premier League.


“More than that, they gave me a chance of rebuilding my reputation after what happened with England. I felt I needed another shot at being a Premier League manager and showing that I still had the ability to achieve something significant. As I said last weekend, Palace gave me the chance of rehabilitation.
“That’s why it’s hard walking away now. I believe the club are heading in the right direction with a hugely supportive board of directors, a great squad of players and some of the most passionate fans I’ve ever met. It’s been a privilege to have worked for them for the past five months.

“But there comes a time when you have to take stock of what direction you want your life to take – and that’s been the simple part for me.

“I want to be able to savour life while I’m still relatively young and when I’m still relatively healthy, even if I’m beginning to feel all my 62 years.

“While I’ve got the energy, I want to travel and also spend more time with my family and grandchildren without the huge pressure that comes with being a football manager. I owe that to my wife and family.

“This is the right time for me, I know that in my heart. I have no ambitions to take another job, I simply want to be able to enjoy all the things you cannot really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing any football club, let alone one in the Premier League.
“Steve Parish has been superb during our conversations today. I know it came as a shock to him that I would walk away but our discussions have been incredibly civilised with no recriminations and no fall-out.

“This is not about transfer targets, club finances or anything along those lines. This is me taking the decision I believe is right for my family and myself.

“I would like to thank everybody for their messages of support since the news broke. I’ve no doubt I will miss management but I certainly have no regrets at this decision.”

The former England manager was appointed as Alan Pardew’s successor, with the Palace languishing in 17th place and just a point above the relegation zone.

It was a swift return to management for Allardyce, who had been out of work since leaving his post as England boss by mutual consent at the end of September after 67 days and just one game following a newspaper investigation.

Allardyce inspired Palace to six wins from eight matches, including victories over Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, to help them preserve their top-flight status with a 14th-place finish.

In doing so, Allardyce maintained his record of having never been relegated from the Premier League.

EPL results: Final day – Champions Chelsea  cruise on Terry’s farewell match; Arsenal win but miss out of Champions League; Kane nets a hat trick- wins Golden boot

​Arsenal 3 – 1 Everton

Burnley 1 – 2 West Ham  United

Chelsea 5 – 1 Sunderland

Hull City 1 – 7 Tottenham  Hotspur

Leicester City 1 – 1 AFC Bournemouth

Liverpool 3 – 0 Middlesbrough

Manchester United 2 – 0 Crystal Palace

Southampton 0 – 1 Stoke City

Swansea City 2 – 1 West Bromwich Albion

Watford 0 – 5 Manchester  City

  • Chelsea 5 – 1 Sunderland

Premier League champions Chelsea beat Sunderland 5-1 to break the Premier League record for wins in a season, as captain John Terry waved goodbye to Stamford Bridge.

With their 30th Premier League victory of the season, Chelsea have broken the competition record set by Jose Mourinho’s title-winning Blues teams in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons, who both won 29 of their 38 league matches.

The win also means Conte’s men finish the season with 93 points, a tally beaten only by Chelsea’s first Premier League title-winning side in 2004-05.

Blues legend, Terry, who has spent 22 years at the club but will leave this summer, played 26 minutes after starting his second match in a row and was replaced to a standing ovation and a guard of honour from his team-mates.

Willian’s equaliser  had already cancelled out Javier Manquillo’s third-minute strike by that point, and Eden Hazard and Pedro scored after the break to put the hosts in control.

Substitute Michy Batshuayi grabbed a late double to seal a record-breaking 30th Premier League victory this season.

It was the perfect prelude to the lifting of the trophy after the match and for Chelsea’s FA Cup final against Arsenal on Saturday.

  • Hull City 1 – 7 Tottenham  Hotspur

Harry Kane finished as the Premier League’s top scorer for the second successive season after scoring a hat-trick as Tottenham thrashed Hull 7-1 on the final day.

The striker, who netted four in a 6-1 win at Leicester on Thursday, followed up with two goals inside the opening 15 minutes at the KCOM Stadium.

Dele Alli made it 3-0 before half-time and, after Sam Clucas pulled a goal back in the 66th minute, Spurs finished with a flourish.

Victor Wanyama headed in before Kane completed his hat-trick and Ben Davies and Toby Alderweireld scored their first Premier League goals of the season.

Kane wins the Golden Boot award with 29 goals, four more than nearest rival Romelu Lukaku.

And the rout concludes another impressive campaign for Spurs, who finish second behind Chelsea on 86 points with just four defeats and a club-record 26 goals conceded.

Hull, meanwhile, drop to the Championship with uncertainty over the future of Marco Silva, who was serenaded by fans throughout the match in a bid to keep him at the club, with  talks planned next week.

  • Watford 0 – 5 Manchester  City

Manchester City sealed their place in next season’s Champions League by crushing Watford to finish third in Pep Guardiola’s debut season.

City skipper Vincent Kompany was left unmarked to head in an early opener before Sergio Aguero twice clinically fired in after quick counters-attacks.

The Blues, needing a point to guarantee a finish in the top four, were 4-0 up at half-time after Fernandinho bundled in.

Gabriel Jesus clipped in a fifth after the break as Watford ended the reign of departing manager Walter Mazzarri with a shocking display.

Mazzarri, who leaves after just one season, was booed by some Hornets fans during the game as the hosts suffered a sixth successive defeat to finish in 17th place.

  • Liverpool 3 – 0 Middlesbrough

Liverpool secured their Champions League return as their initial nerves turned to jubilation and relegated Middlesbrough crumbled at Anfield.

With top-four rivals Arsenal ahead at Everton, Liverpool were impotent in attack and twitchy at the back for most of the first half.

But Georginio Wijnaldum eased the tension in injury time, bursting into the box and smashing in a fierce shot at the near post.

Philippe Coutinho’s low curling free-kick six minutes into the second half was quickly followed by Adam Lallana slotting in to give the Reds a comfortable cushion to ride out to full-time.

With Manchester City thrashing Watford, Liverpool finished fourth in the final Premier League table and will have to negotiate Champions League qualifying at the start of next season.

  • ​Arsenal 3 – 1 Everton

Arsenal missed out on a place in the Champions League for the first time in 20 years despite beating Everton on the final day of the season.

Arsene Wenger’s side got the win they required despite having defender Laurent Koscielny sent off for a reckless first-half challenge on Everton’s Enner Valencia. He will now serve a suspension that will keep him out of the FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley.

Arsenal took the lead early on through Hector Bellerin’s far-post finish and Alexis Sanchez scrambled in a second after Koscielny’s dismissal to put the Gunners in control.

It was to no avail as Liverpool completed their task by beating Middlesbrough to finish fourth.

The Gunners did end the league campaign with a flourish though thanks to Aaron Ramsey’s brilliant injury-time strike from 20 yards after Romelu Lukaku pulled a goal back for Everton from the penalty spot.

The hosts, who also had defender Gabriel taken off injured on a stretcher, now turn their attention to Wembley, after which an announcement on manager Wenger’s future will be made.

  • Manchester United 2 – 0 Crystal Palace

Josh Harrop scored on his debut as Manchester United’s disappointing Premier League campaign ended with a comfortable victory over Crystal Palace.

Harrop was one of four players given their first top-flight starts as manager Jose Mourinho named the youngest United line-up in Premier League history, with an average age of 22 years and 284 days.

The 21-year-old midfielder was brimming with confidence and lashed in a superb finish from inside the box in the first half, and could have had a second, but curled an effort narrowly wide.

Paul Pogba doubled the advantage with a low strike before being replaced by Michael Carrick with Wednesday’s Europa League final against Ajax in mind.

With two minutes remaining the London-born and Salford-raised Angel Gomes replaced captain Wayne Rooney to become the club’s youngest ever Premier League player at 16 years and 263 days old.

He is also the first player born in the 21st century to appear in the Premier League.

Palace’s best chance went to Christian Benteke in the second half, but the striker’s towering header struck the foot of the post.

Victory means United collect £28.5m in competition prize money for a sixth place finish – their second successive season outside the top four – while Palace end the season in 14th, earning them £13.3m.

  • Southampton 0 – 1 Stoke City

Southampton” miserable home form continued as Peter Crouch struck the only goal of the game to help Stoke to a first away win since January on the final day of the season.

The home side enjoyed the majority of possession but Nathan Redmond’s lob on to the bar on the stroke of half-time was their best moment until Crouch pounced.

The striker’s 10th goal of the season arrived when he headed home a Geoff Cameron cross and they deserved the lead after creating openings throughout.

Southampton rallied late on as Jack Butland produced fine saves to deny Steven Davis, James Ward-Prowse and Sofiane Boufal but Claude Puel’s side end the campaign without a win in five games at St Mary’s.

His side end the season eighth, with their lowest points tally since 2012-13, while Stoke finish 13th, their lowest finish since the same season.

  • Leicester City 1 – 1 AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth secured their highest top-flight finish with a draw at Leicester on the final day of the 2016-17 Premier League season.

Junior Stanislas put the Cherries ahead after just 59 seconds, smashing in a rebound from Ryan Fraser’s shot at the end of Lys Mousset’s driving run.

Leicester started poorly but were transformed after the break and Jamie Vardy poked in Islam Slimani’s knockdown early in the second half.

Vardy had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside nine minutes later as he stabbed in after Slimani’s blocked shot, while Slimani headed badly wide when found in space by a Riyad Mahrez free-kick with five minutes to play.

The Cherries – who finished 16th in their first Premier League campaign last year – end the season in ninth, while 2015-16 champions Leicester move down to 12th.

  • Swansea City 2 – 1 West Bromwich Albion

Swansea City fought back from a goal down to beat West Brom on the final day of the Premier League season.

Having secured survival a week earlier, the hosts were in relaxed mood at a relieved Liberty Stadium but fell behind in the first half as Jonny Evans nodded in from a corner.

Swansea improved after the interval and equalised as Jordan Ayew headed his first goal for the club, before Fernando Llorente volleyed the winning goal with five minutes left.

A fourth win in five games lifts the Swans up to 15th in the Premier League table while a ninth match without victory means West Brom finish the campaign in 10th place.

Whereas the Baggies’ second-half decline was symptomatic of their fading fortunes at the end of the season, Swansea’s late revival was representative of their inspired run-in.

  • Burnley 1 – 2 West Ham  United

West Ham ended their season with an away victory as they came from behind to beat Burnley at Turf Moor.

Burnley went ahead when Sam Vokes scored his 10th league goal of the season when he finished off Andre Gray’s low cross.

The hosts’ lead only lasted four minutes before Sofiane Feghouli netted to complete a fine move that also involved Edimilson Fernandes and Andre Ayew.

Ayew scored the winning goal with a close-range header after Tom Heaton had pushed Fernandes’ shot on to the crossbar.

The result means West Ham end the season in 11th place, missing out on a top-10 position on goal difference, while Burnley finish in 16th.

Chelsea’s Pedro wins April  Goal of the month award

Chelsea forward Pedro Rodriguez has won April’s Premier League Goal of the Month award for his stunning 25-yard strike in Chelsea’s win at Everton.

Pedro’s goal was voted the best from a shortlist that also included Roberto Firmino’s superb effort for Liverpool at Stoke and a fine Dele Alli finish for Tottenham Hotspur at home to Watford.

The Spain international found the top corner with a fierce left-foot strike to put Antonio Conte’s men on course for a crucial victory in their charge towards the Premier League title.
He has contributed eight goals and eight assists in 32 Premier League appearances for Chelsea this season, and also won the November goal of the month award for a curling effort from outside the box in a 2-1 victory over Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.

Editorial: Leicester City can start to dream

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A lot has been said about how ridiculously poor Mourinho’s team has been this season. Against Leicester, it took them an hour to get out of the team bus but by then Leicester City was already out of sight with Mahrez and Vardy providing two goals. While Chelsea’s poor form has been analysed and reanalysed, and then reanalysed again, little has been said about how good this Leicester side has been.

Nigel Pearson’s sack was widely criticised by fans, pundits and the media. But, the arrival of Claudio Ranieri has been like a breath of fresh air. The Italian manager has had difficult spells since he was sacked from Chelsea in 2004. At Leicester, the Italian has been reborn. The brand of football on display at the King Power Stadium has been exhilarating.  In the first 60 minutes, they were like a moving train and the Blues felt the full effect. The Champion improved in the final 30 minutes but aside the goal Leicester City conceded, they looked assured at the back showing a ruthless and efficient resilience that Mourinho would have been proud of.

Claudio Ranieri may be trying hard to keep the target low and even dismiss a title challenge, but this Leicester side must now be taken seriously. Only 5 points are required to meet the manager’s target of 40 points. But surely, you expect that the expectation will have to go up. In Mahrez and Vardy, they have the most potent duo in the league. Both combined have scored more goals than 16 other teams in the league. Past league winners have depended on star players to provide goals. The great Arsenal sides had Thierry Henry or Ian Wright. Manchester United had Ruud Van Nistelrooy and City has Sergio Aguero. Leicester City however, boasts of two very potent forwards. The key has been to get the ball forward to them quickly and they have duly punished every defence they have come against this season.

They may fall away before the end of the season but there is something about them that makes one feel they will have a big say. Chelsea’s star players may have “betrayed” their manager last night but Leicester City ensured that happened. They in fact were the catalyst meaning that Mourinho was forced to make changes more in desperation. They forced Chelsea into very uncomfortable situations and saying Chelsea were poor will amount to us not giving the Foxes the credit the quality of their play deserved. Chelsea will not win the league. They may not even make the Champions League next season unless they win the competition this season. But for Leicester City, their fans can start to dream.

Preview: Swansea Vs Leicester City

 

Barclays-POTM-Vardy-04Claudio Ranieri takes high-flying Leicester City to Wales to face a team who are gradually finding their way down the table. Swansea City are on a poor run of form and have won just one in their last 10 Premier games, drawing three and losing the other six. They come up against a Jamie Vardy who is in the form of his life. The English forward has scored in his last 11 Premier League games and there is a sense of near certainty that he could add a Swansea side low on confidence to his list of victims and conquest.

Swansea City have an impressive record at home to the Foxes and have won their last three league games at home against their opponents this weekend without conceding a single goal. However, the contrasting fortunes of both sides could make such stats history and even irrelevant. Swansea City has failed to score in six of their last 10 Premier League games. Ranieri has tried to play down the significance of Leicester City’s fine start but such modesty can take nothing away from his side who have lost just one of their 14 Premier League games so far this season – their lowest tally of defeats at this stage of a top-flight season and they have scored in each of their 14 Premier League games this season. Even the biggest pessimist will admit that this side has to be taken seriously.

 

Team news

Swansea

Jonjo Shelvey is available again for selection after serving his suspension, but Franck Tabanou will be unavailable for several weeks after injuring a thigh muscle in training.

Leicester City

Leicester will be without Ritchie de Laet for around a month due to an ankle injury while Matty James will not recover in time for the game. Nathan Dyer is ineligible against his parent club following his loan move to the Foxes.

Preview: Arsenal Vs Everton

Chelsea v Arsenal - FA Community Shield

Arsenal’s disciplined and efficient performance against Bayern Munich in midweek has provided renewed optimism at the North London club. Confidence is flowing at the London club and the opening day defeat to West Ham seems like ages ago as they welcome Everton to the Emirates. Everton were well beaten by Manchester United last weekend in a game they lost 3-0. They face another difficult test when they travel to London to play Arsenal.

Roberto Martinez will hope his charges come up with a better performance in a game that they have not had too much success recently. The Merseyside club have won just once in the last 16 Premier League meeting between the sides with the Gunners recording nine victories in those meetings. Arsenal were starved of the ball for long periods in midweek against the German champions but Wenger will want his side to seize the initiative in this match. Arsenal ability to collapse and lose concentration is well documented and this Everton side will seek to capitalise on any such gifts. Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku will be the players Everton will hope turns up on the day if they are to get anything from the game.

Petr Cech has provided some much needed calmness to the Arsenal defence and already has seven clean sheets in his first 11 games. The veteran, who now has 167 clean sheets, is closing in on David James’ record of 169 clean sheets in the premier league and his recent form suggest that it is a record he is capable of beating in a matter of weeks. Olivier Giroud has found goals easy to come by in this fixture and has netted four goals in the last four meeting between the two teams. Wenger faces a selection headache and has to decide whether to bring in the French international or persist with Theo Walcott.

Team News

Arsenal

Aaron Ramsey suffered injury against Bayern in midweek and will be sidelined until after the next international break. Arteta is ruled out for the game against his former side after picking up an ankle injury in training. Gabriel Paulista is available for selection while Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck all have long term injuries. David Ospina is still sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Everton

Tom Cleverly and Steven Pienaar are available for selection after recovering from injuries.

Preview: Manchester United Vs Manchester City

derby
Photo Courtesy Independent

Recent games involving the two sides have thrown up some significant moments in the past few seasons. Games between these unfriendly neighbours have helped to laid down markers and decide the destination of titles. This match, however, coming relatively early in the season will not decide the destination of the title as there will be lots of twist and turns. For Manchester United, it represents their second big test of the season after they failed the first one woefully at the Emirates.

United responded at Everton last weekend following their abysmal showing at Arsenal and were duly rewarded with a solid win at Goodison Park. They will hope to carry on from where they left off when they welcome City. City so far has managed to navigate the first two games following injuries to Sergio Aguero and David Silva. But make no mistake, this will prove to be a big test for Wilfred Bony and Kevin De Bruyne as they seek to provide the goals and assists in the absence of the Argentine and Spanish superstars.

Rooney’s form has largely been criticised this season and there is a belief that if this United side is to really kick on, the English captain may have to be dropped if he fails to regain the form that made him one of Europe’s most feared strikers. He will look to prove his critics wrong in a game none of the two sides will want to lose. Rooney has scored ten goals in this derby and United faithful will hope he can improve on this record in order for his side not to lose ground in the title challenge. Manchester United, under Louis Van Gaal, have an impressive home record with 17 wins in 23 games under the Dutch manager. The continuation of this record will be largely dependent on which Man United midfield turns up on the day and the selection. A repeat of the same lethargic performance that characterized their performance will most likely be punished.

City have enjoyed success in this fixture recently with six wins in the last eight Manchester derbies and are looking to notch up half a century of wins over their arch rivals in this competition.

Teams News

Manchester United

There are no new injury worries for the host. Ashley Young could be fit in time for this game.

Manchester City

City are without several keys players. Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri and Fabian Delph are all sidelined. Vincent Kompany is available for selection again.

Preview: West Ham Vs Chelsea

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West ham and Chelsea face off in this London derby with the two sides in very unfamiliar positions in the league standings. West Ham have had a fine start to the campaign and sit in 4th place. Slaven Bilic has proven to be an inspired choice with the Hammers playing some very exciting football and claiming major scalps this season.

Chelsea has had a poor start to the campaign but last weekend’s home win against Aston Villa provided the league Champions with some much-needed points and confidence. They will look to continue in the same vein but must be wary that this will be a very difficult game against a side that has claimed wins at Arsenal and Liverpool. Chelsea knows that to win this game, they need to keep Dimitri Payet quiet. The French international has adjusted quickly to life in England and has aided his team’s cause with five goals and three assists.

Chelsea have enjoyed huge success in recent meetings with West Ham, winning 13 of the last 18 and have not conceded in the last five against the Hammers. Jose Mourinho’s side have a chance to build some momentum after a poor start to the season. They face a side capable of troubling any team in the country.

Team News

West Ham

Victor Moses is ineligible to play as he is on loan from Chelsea. Enner Valencia is in line to make his first start of the campaign. Winston Reid is however ruled out with a back injury.

Chelsea

Chelsea are without Pedro, Loic Remy and Branislav Ivanovic,. First choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is still sidelined.

Preview: Chelsea Vs Aston Villa

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho has probably run out of individuals or bodies to blame following Chelsea’s poor start to the season. The doctors and physio have been blamed. Match officials and the FA have also taken some share of the blame. The star players of the team have also not been exempted. And of course, Arsene Wenger. Chelsea were taken apart by Southampton two weeks at Stamford Bridge despite taking the lead. Their defence has been poor with Ivanovic being the main culprit. The Serbian defender will miss the game due to injury but there will probably be no Chelsea fan that will lose sleep over this. The Serbian has been poor this season but has somehow managed to survive the chop.

Chelsea have another opportunity to kick-start their season yet again against an Aston Villa that has failed to win since the opening day victory at Bournemouth. Villa have picked up just one point since then and even with Chelsea’s current predicaments, the Champions will be expected to get a positive result against the Birmingham side who are having their worse start of a top flight season. Tim Sherwood will be looking to avoid a fifth consecutive league defeat. Mourinho will have to find a way to shore up his defence. Their defence has leaked in at least two goals in seven of their eight games.

Chelsea will welcome back Diego Costa from suspension and the Spaniard will aim to hit top form quickly to help Chelsea up the table. Aston Villa’s records at Chelsea are pretty poor and have conceded 30 goals from their last eight visits to the London club. Chelsea may have lost five of their last ten league games, but surely this is a game they will be expected to win. Villa on the other hand will hope that Chelsea will come bearing gifts.

Team News

Chelsea

Diego Costa returns after completing a three game suspension for violent conduct. Ivanovic is ruled out due to a hamstring injury sustained while on international duty. Thibaut Courtois is still sidelined with a knee injury and could return in December.

Aston Villa

Villa are still without Gabby Agbonlahor and Ciaran Clark who are both out with calf and thigh injuries. They are joined on the sidelines by Okore and Gardner.

Preview: Southampton Vs Leicester City

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Courtesy: Goal

The Saints march into this fixture in buoyant mood after their comprehensive victory at the home of the Champions. Their poor start to the season seems like ages ago and the manner in which they dismantled Chelsea with ruthless and clinical efficiency must have impressed their Dutch manager. Leicester City has also carried on from where they ended last season and a change in manager has not affected the side. They have been very impressive going forward and this game has the potential of being a classic.

Jamie Vardy has been a bright spark in Leicester’s line up and the forward has troubled defences across the country. He has found the back of the net eight times in his last nine Barclays Premier League games, including in his last five consecutive matches. The Foxes have also been notoriously difficult to beat and their resilience and determination to avoid defeat has seen them win six points from losing positions; which is the highest in the division. They have also scored in all the games they have been involved in this season.

Leicester City is unbeaten in their last seven away games and their fans will have good reasons for optimism. They have however struggled away from home against the Saints in the past with only one victory in their previous 18 away meetings in the Premier League. The Saints have won ten of those games. the Foxes have also failed to keep a clean sheet this season and an in form Pelle may be able to keep that stat alive

Team News

Southampton

Shane Long will miss the game after damaging his ankle ligaments while on international duty. Jordy Clasie could finally make his Premier League after been sidelined since July. Fraser Forster and Florin Gardon remain sidelined due to long-term injuries.

Leicester City

Nathan Dyer is fit again after recovering from a knee injury sustained against Aston Villa last month. Riyad Mahrez and Jeff Schlupp are also in contention after returning late from international duties for Algeria and Ghana respectively.

Preview: Manchester City Vs Bournemouth

Manchester City v Newcastle United - Premier League

The loss of Sergio Aguero has dominated the headlines over the past few days at the league leaders. The Argentine superstar scored five times against Newcastle and his goals will surely be missed over the next one month. Pellegrini’s woes were compounded when Kolarov and David Silva also returned from the international break with injuries which the Chilean manager hopes does not derail his side’s title ambition. The kind of football Manchester City played against Newcastle was a joy to behold and breathtaking at times. Kevin De Bruyne has been hugely impressive following his big money move from the Bundesliga and over the next few weeks, he will need to take up most of the creative responsibilities for his side. The Belgian has contributed three goals and two assists in his last three matches

In spite of City’s injury problems, Bournemouth know that they have a difficult task at hand if they are to go home with a point. They have so far picked up a respectable eight points this season but their away results have been far from encouraging and have lost three of their first four away games. Their task is made even harder by the fact that their top scorer, Callum Wilson, has been ruled out with a long-term injury. Their defence will also have their work cut out as they face a side that has found the back of the net in 23 of their last 24 Premier League games.

The Citizens and the Cherries have not met at this stage before. However, before Man City’s new found riches, the host won four and drew two in the six previous meetings between both teams. An upset is unlikely but with both sides’ injury worries, the Cherries may fancy their chances of getting something from a game no one expects them to win.

Team News

Manchester City

Manchester City have been hit with news of the loss of three key players. Aguero, Kolarov and Silva will all miss out following an international break with so many casualties for the club. Gael Clichy and Fabian Delph are still sidelined and a makeshift left back may have to be drafted in due to the absence of Clichy and Kolarov. Vincent Kompany is available again while Wilfred Bony will lead the lines in the absence of top scorer Aguero.

Bournemouth

It has been a season of injuries for Eddie Howe’s side. Captain Tommy Elphick became the latest casualty and will be out for approximately eight weeks. Tyrone Mings, Callum Wilson and Max Gradel are all ruled out with long-term injuries.

Preview: Everton Vs Manchester United

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At full-time against Arsenal, Louis Van Gaal couldn’t find reasons as to why his team had played badly in their first real test of the season. The decision to press high without actually winning the ball was brutally exposed and clinically punished by Arsenal. At Everton, he needs to find answers against a tricky Everton who have developed a habit of making life difficult for opponents. At the Emirates, the midfield was nonexistent and this left Chris Smalling and Danny Blind brutally exposed. Ross Barkley will be hoping for more of the same from Man United. The decision to play Schweinsteiger and Carrick together was wildly criticised and the manager will have to decide if he will stick with the same combination or make changes as they face a very competent Everton.

Wayne Rooney and Memphis Depay have so far failed to match the expectations of fans. Depay could be forgiven for still trying to adapt to a new league but the performance of Rooney must surely be a huge source of concern to the Dutch manager. Van Gaal will therefore have to decide whether to remain patient and hope that his two star players hit top form or make changes.

Romelu Lukaku will fancy his chances against the United defence and will be buoyed by the fact that he is one of only four players to have scored a Premier League hat-trick against the Manchester side. It promises to be a very busy afternoon for the central defender if the Belgian hits top form this afternoon. Everton’s recent home form against United in the league has also been encouraging with three consecutive home wins but they have only won one game in their last six at home.

Team News

Everton

John Stones and Seamus Coleman are set to return in defence against United following their recoveries from knee and hamstring injuries respectively. Kevin Mirallas returns from a three match suspension while midfielder Tom Cleverly is also in contention to face his former club.

Manchester United

Wayne Rooney is available for selection after missing England’s games against Estonia and Lithuania during the international break due to an ankle problem. Michael Carrick and Bastian Schweinsteiger have also recovered from injury but Ashley Young is ruled out.

Preview: Tottenham Vs Liverpool

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At Anfield, the Klopp-mania has swept through the city and now it is time for the Jurgen Klopp era to begin. His track records certainly suggest that Liverpool fans will be in for a fun ride. Dortmund were a breath of fresh air with their playing style and ultra pressing game.

However, this will be no easy game against a Spurs side that is gradually finding its feet after a slow start. Manchester City were their last victims at home at White Hart Lane and with Eriksen in fine form, this is a team capable of deflating all the optimism the new German manager has brought with hm. The “normal” one will be hoping for a good start.

Liverpool is aiming for their 6th consecutive win over Spurs and have scored 18 goals in the last 5 meetings between the sides, conceding just 4 goals in those games. The timely return of Daniel Sturridge should be a boost to this side but he has however failed to score against the North London side since he moved to Merseyside. Tottenham has built a good and solid defensive unit so far and are yet to lose in their last 7 league games and also have the best joint defensive record in the league, allowing just 7 goals this season. The London side will want to prevent a 6th consecutive defeat in the hands of their opponents, a feat only Newcastle has managed to inflict on them.

Team News

Tottenham

Tottenham are facing an injury crisis in midfield with Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb out injured. Eric Dier who has starred in midfield this season is also suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season. That means inexperienced Tom Carroll or Musa Dembele could start. Son Heung-Min and Alex Pritchard remained sidelined with injuries.

Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp will look to Divock Origi and Sturridge for goals following a cruciate ligament injury to Danny Ings. Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino are also sidelined but they should be back in full training in one week. Joe Gomez is also ruled out with a cruciate ligament tear and is joined on the injury list by Jordan Henderson. Playmaker Philippe Coutinho is available for selection after recovering from a groin problem.

Preview: Sunderland Vs Tottenham

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Both sides head into the weekend still in search of their first league win of the season. If there is one opponent Spurs will want at this time, it probably will be Sunderland as they are unbeaten in the last 10 meetings between the sides. Sunderland’s poor start can be attributed to a host of factor, one of which is a series of comical defending. Tottenham, however, have sometimes in recent away games left their scoring boots at home.

Tottenham’s start to the season has been poor by their standard. They threw away a 2 goal lead at home to Stoke and Harry Kane’s form has been nowhere what it was last season. The success of the London club will depend on the ability of the Englishman to regain his goal scoring form and the supporting cast to lend a hand.

Dick Advocaat will be encouraged by his attackers’ showing in the 2-2 draw away at Aston Villa and the recent acquisition of Fabio Borini provides more reasons for optimism. But doubts still linger about the ability of his defence. Kaboul was expected to bring in some much-needed calmness and experience to that backline but that hasn’t materialized yet. The Black Cats have already shipped in 10 games this season with defeats at Leicester City away and home to Norwich City particularly disturbing. They have somewhat steadied the ship but they will know that they need to quickly convert recent draws to win in order to avoid another relegation dogfight.

Team News

Sunderland

Fabio Borini is in line for his second debut for the Black Cats after signing from Liverpool. However, on-loan DeAndre Yedlin is ineligible to play against his parent club. Jordi Gomez and Adam Johnson are back in training but are unlikely to feature due to a lack of match fitness.

Tottenham

Son Heung Min is available to make his premier league debut  but Eriksen misses out due to a knee injury. Mousa Dembele is sidelined as well with a foot problem.

Preview: Crystal Palace Vs Manchester City

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Manchester City will look to extend their Premier League winning streak to 11 when they visit Selhurst Park this weekend. Standing in their way is a stubborn Crystal Palace side who managed to defeat Chelsea at the bridge 2 weeks ago. Manchester City’s football has often been a joy to watch, demolishing teams with relative ease and panache. Their impressive form has seen their Chilean manager rewarded with the August Manager of the month award.

Much has been said of Palace’s impressive away record under Alan Pardew but there is a belief and acceptance that their home form has to be better for them to remain closer to the top of the table. Since Pardew swapped Newcstle for Palace, his new side has picked up an average of 2.4 points away from home but just an average of 1.3 points at Selhurst Park.

The London side do not have an encouraging record against City having lost 5 of their 6 Premier League clashes. However, their solitary victory in those 6 games did come in their last meeting at home in April 2015, a game they won 2-1. Manchester City have won 4 straight games away from home and if key players can maintain their top form, they should be confident of extending that run. However, they must be careful against a Palace side brimming with confidence.

Team News

Crystal Palace

Yohan Cabaye is available for selection after recovering from a knee injury while Julian Speroni is fit again. Marouane Chamakh remains sidelined with injury while Connor Wickham could miss out with injury.

Manchester City

David Silva misses out with an ankle injury sustained on international duty. In his absence, Kevin De Bruyne could be called up for his debut and the expensive signing may be relied upon to produce the creativity which the Spaniard normally brings to the table. Fabian Delph is also ruled out after he pulled his hamstring while playing for England.  Bacary Sagna is fit again.

Preview: Manchester United Vs Liverpool

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Speculations over the future of David De Gea can finally be laid to rest. Following Real Madrid’s failed attempt to sign the Spaniard, the young goalkeeper has signed a new contract. The Manchester club will hope that the end of the prolonged transfer saga will see them bounce back to form after they were beaten at Swansea 2 weeks ago. Liverpool were also easily torn to shreds by West Ham, a game in which they were comprehensively beaten.

The Red devils decided to allow a lot of their attacking talents depart before splashing the cash on Martial on transfer deadline day. The young French attacker will be in for huge scrutiny considering how much the English giants paid to acquire his services. He will look to Rooney for assistance as he makes the tough transition to English football. It is unknown if he will be thrown straight into deep waters against Liverpool but Wayne Rooney will be brimming with confidence after breaking the English national team goalscoring record which was held by Bobby Charlton. He, however, has failed to find the back of the net in 10 attempts in the premier league.

Games between these two sides usually do not follow the form books due to the age-long rivalry between both sides but recently Liverpool have found themselves on the losing side more often. They have lost 5 of the last 7 Premier Leagues meeting with their arch rivals with 16 red cards dished out in Premier Leagues involving both side. Manchester United’s recent home record have been poor with only one win in four attempt while Liverpool has won just once in 7 trips away from Anfield. This could be won by the team that wants it more.

Team News

Manchester United

David De Gea is available for selection after committing his long-term future to the club. He will have to wait and see if he will regain his spot back from Sergio Romero who has played since the start of the season. Michael Carrick has been declared fit after recovering in time from a calf injury. New signing Martial could make his Premier League against Liverpool.

Liverpool

Phillipe Coutinho is suspended after been sent off in that calamitous 3-0 defeat at home to West Ham. Daniel Sturridge remains sidelined while Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana will undergo late fitness test to see if they are fully recovered ahead of kick off.

Preview: Everton Vs Chelsea

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There is something not right with this Chelsea side. The Blues defence has been uncharacteristically leaky often bearing gifts to oppositions who have had no problems taking advantage often times. The buzz generated by Pedro’s stellar premier league debut has since disappeared following a convincing Crystal Palace victory at the Bridge. Chelsea will look to kick-start their season yet again when they visit Everton at Goodison Park in the early kick off of the weekend.

The corresponding fixture last season ended 6-3 in favour of the defending Champions but Jose Mourinho will hope that his side are not as generous as they were last season. The usually stingy defence has shipped in 8 goals in their last 3 away league games. Former Chelsea man Romelu Lulaku will look to punish any defensive frailty on the part of his former club. Jose Mourinho has been unimpressed by the form of some of his key players, notably Eden Hazard. The Belgian superstar is on a 7 Premier League games goalscoring drought. His form will be crucial if Chelsea’s season is to be revived.

Chelsea have come out tops in 2 of the last 3 meetings between the sides at Goodison Park and have a superior record over their host in recent meetings. The London side boast of 5 victories in their last 6 meetings and will hope to continue their impressive run against Everton. Everton, however, have failed to score in their last 2 games but will surely fancy their chances if Chelsea maintain their new-found bad habits.

Team News

Everton

Aaron Lennon, Ramiro Funes Mori and Leandro Rodriguez are all available for selection while Tom Cleverly could be out for up to 2 months with an ankle ligament damage.

Chelsea

Asmir Begovic will start in goal after it was announced that Thibaut Courtois has a knee injury. John Terry is available again after serving a 1 match ban

Preview: Manchester City Vs Watford

City's duo - Silva and Toure
City’s duo – Silva and Toure

It has been a fantastic start to the season at the sky blue half of Manchester. Teams have been beaten convincingly and there is a swagger about the City side which has made them odds on favourite to win the title. With UEFA failing to follow through the Financial Fair Play effectively, City have gone on to make some stellar signings and Kevin De Bruyne is expected to join soon.

Watford have had 3 draws so far and making it 4 will be seen as a huge achievement against a side that easily dispatched Chelsea. Manchester City’s assault on the title is led by Sergio Aguero. The Argentine has continued from where he stopped and Pellegrini will know that keeping him fit will probably be the single most important factor in their bid to reclaim a title they lost to Chelsea last season.

The stats do not favour the newly promoted side. City boasts an impressive home record with 14 victories in their last 18 league games while Watford have just won 3 of their last 39 Premier League away games.

Team News

Manchester City

Pablo Zabaleta, Fernando and Gael Clichy remain sideline due to injuries. Bony could miss out as well due to a gashed leg. New signing Nicolas Otamendi could make his debut today

Watford

Quique Sanchez Flores will definitely name a very different side from the one that lost in midweek to Preston. Miguel Britos is suspended following a red card on his debut on Tuesday. Joel Ekstrand remains injured.

Preview: Chelsea Vs Crystal Palace

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Jose Mourinho goes into his 200th Premier League game in charge of Chelsea looking to continue his impressive record at the bridge. The Portugese manager has suffered just one home defeat in his first 99 games at Stanford Bridge, winning 76 of those games. After Pedro’s impressive introduction to English football, the doom and gloom of their start to the season can be finally laid to rest against Crystal Palace with another win.

Palace has started the season strongly with 2 wins in 3. Regardless of the result today, they will be encouraged that they have picked up at least 6 points and would have played 2 of last season’s top 4 sides. Pardew’s team have been particularly difficult to beat away from home winning seven of the last nine, with one of two defeats coming at Chelsea.

Their record at Chelsea has been far from perfect having won just twice in their last 21 visits. The last win recorded away at Chelsea was in March 1982. To change this trend, they will look to Zaha, Sako and Bolasie to trouble a Chelsea defence that has looked uncharacteristically leaky this season. The absence of Terry and the unconvincing form of Ivanovic means this may be a far from straight forward for Chelsea

Teams News

Chelsea

Chelsea captain is suspended so Gary Cahill is expected to start alongside Kurt Zouma. Baba Rahman could make his debut while Victor Moses and Oscar are doubts for the game as a result of injuries.

Crystal Palace

Mile Jedinak is ruled out with a hamstring injury sustained in the midweek League Cup win over Shresbury. Yannick Bolasie will also take part following the death of his father.

Preview: Newcastle United Vs Arsenal

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Arsenal has had a poor start to the season considering the optimism generated by their strong pre season. Against Liverpool, the Gunners were denied by some poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping. Doubts may exist about Olivier Giroud’s ability to lead a title charge, but there is no denying the fact that he has a tremendous record against the Magpies. He has scored 8 goals in 6 appearances against the team from Tyneside.

Steve McClaren’s side produced a heroic display against Manchester United and the manager will expect the same level of commitment. Florian Thauvin has a bright start to life in English football. AT Old Trafford, he looked comfortable before putting Northampton to the sword with a hat trick of assist and one in a convincing 4-1 win.

The likes of Thauvin, Mitrovic and Wijnaldum will look to capitalise on any uncertainty in the Arsenal defence where Chambers and Gabriel may continue in the continued absence of Per Mertesacker and if Koscielny fails a late fitness test.

The records do favour Arsenal though who have picked up 7 wins against Newcastle in 9 meetings, with the other two ending in draws. Newcastle’s home ground is not exactly a fortress. The club has only won 2 in 11 games played at ST. James Park.  The Gunners have also had a lot of joy on the road where they have picked up 19 points out of the last 21 available.

Teams News

Newcastle United

Sissoko remains a doubt with a groin problem while RIviere and Marveaux are definitely ruled out with knee and groin injuries. Siem De Jong is also available after having a difficult last season which was disrupted by injuries. He completed 90 minutes in midweek in the Carling cup and even scored in a convincing Newcastle win.

Arsenal

Arsenal will definitely be without Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Thomas Rosicky who are all ruled out with injuries. Koscielny may miss out with a back problem while Mertesacker is unexpected to recover from illness in time for the early kick off. Gabriel and Chambers are expected to deputize for the pair.

Norwich City vs Stoke City

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Sunderland may have been poor last week, but Norwich must be praised for seizing the opportunity and beating the black Cats with such ruthless efficiency. Goals from Russell Martin, Steve Whittaker and Nathan Redmond led to a 3-1 victory and gave the newly promoted side their first win of the season after they had suffered an opening day defeat to Crystal Palace. There will definitely be some temptation for Norwich manager Alex Neil to select the same starting line-up that beat Sunderland. After all, if it isn’t broken, why change things?

Stoke showed they must be taken seriously after earning a creditable draw at Spurs even though they were 2 goals down at some point in the game. Mark Hughes will hope his side can build on the momentum generated at White Hart Lane. However, their away records haven’t been particularly pleasing to the eye. They have picked up just 3 points from the last 18 points available away from home and have scored 4 goals in those games. The absence of Bojan and Peter Odemwingie would make it even more difficult for those records to be improved upon.

Alex Niel has enjoyed a fantastic start to life at Carrow Road. He has won 18 of the 27 games he has overseen for Norwich, and in that period oversaw the Canaries’ return to the big league. Many of those wins may have come in the Championship, there is no doubt that he is building a stubborn side that could cause problems for many teams on their day. If recent records between the two teams count for anything, Norwich City should feel confident going into this one. They have lost just once in 10 games against Stoke at Carrow Road, winning five of them and drawing four.

Team News

Norwich

Kyle Lafferty, Martin Olsson and Youssef Mulumbu are all unavailable due to injuries.

Stoke City

Xherdan Shaqiri could make his English football debut after serving his one match suspension carried over from the Coppa Italia. Marc Wilson could also make his first appearance of the new season while Bojan will probably not be fit enough to participate following his long-term injury. Ryan Shawcross and Peter Odemwingie are injured.

West Ham vs Bournemouth

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Courtesy: BBC

When the final whistle blew at the Emirates stadium on the opening day of the season, West Ham had just deflated the optimism at Arsenal. Slaven Bilic was getting all the plaudits. However, 2 weeks is a long time in football. They got a taste of their own medicine when Bilic’s men suffered defeat to a determined and efficient Leicester City and their woes compounded when number one goalkeeper, Adrian, was sent off for a challenge on Jamie Verdy.

In the absence of Adrian, Darren Randolph, a free transfer from Birmingham, will be called up to deputise. However, the new signing has had a torrid time in his previous meeting with the Cherries. He has conceded 16 goals in the last 3 games against the opposition.

For Bournemouth, they were praised for their exciting brand of football on their way to winning the Championship last season. In their debut Premier League season, they have been guilty of poor finishing and victims of refereeing mistakes. Against Liverpool, they produced an encouraging display. But a good display was decided by a Christian Benteke goal and two poor refereeing decisions.

Eddie Howe will hope his side’s spirited displays will produce goals and points as they are yet to register a point or goal as they head into the third match-day. The Cherries are expected to take advantage of any nervousness or loss of confidence on the part of West ham.

Teams News

West Ham

Adrian is suspended after been sent in the game against Leicester. In his place, Randolph will make his Premier League debut for the Hammers. Andy Carroll, Zarate and Valencia are all sidelined with injuries. There are doubts over the availability of O’Brien and Oxford and they will be assessed by the medical team to see if they can take some part in the game.

Bournemouth

Eddie Howe has no new injury worries. Harry Arter, however, remains unavailable due to injuries. Tyrone Mings and Sylvain Distin are available and could make their club debut.

Preview: Sunderland Vs Swansea

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Advocaat ponders. (Getty Image)

It is safe to say that Billy Jones or anyone who will play right back for Sunderland against Swansea will not be looking forward to this game. Jefferson Montero has taken the title of Tormentor-in-chief and has already made Branislav Ivanovic look like a Sunday league footballer. Janmaat was sent off for 2 bookable challenges on the Ecuadorian international. Gary Monk will expect him to carry on from where he stopped.

Sunderland have suffered two back to back defeats this season but what will be more worrying for Dick Advocaat will be the manner of the defeats. The defence has been poor, the experienced players underwhelming and the manager would be expected to shake things up.

Swansea’s season has been the direct opposite. They have played some exhilarating football defeating Newcastle and giving Chelsea a hard time before the Champions held on to draw the opening game. The partnership between Bafetimbi Gomis and Andre Ayew has proven that it could be a very productive one and the striking duo will fancy their chances against a Black cat defence that has been out of sorts since the start of the season. With Montero causing havoc on the left side of attack, it could be a very long day for Sunderland.

Sunderland were well beaten by Leicester and Norwich in the first 2 games, sides that are expected to struggle for safety alongside the black cats. The defence have been the worse culprit having shipped in 7 goals so far this season and 12 in their last 6 home Premier League games. They also have a tendency to never recover after conceding the first goal having not won in the last 17 games in which they conceded first. Swansea will be confident of improving their record against Sunderland which has seen them pick just one win in their 12 top-flight games against Sunderland with the Black Cats keeping 3 clean sheets in the last 4 meetings between the sides.

Team News.

Sunderland

Jordi Gomez will not be involved this weekend as he continues to work his way to full fitness. John O’Shea could be recalled for this one after missing the first 2 games this season. Adam Johnson remains sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Swansea

Ki Sung-Yueng is Swansea’s only fitness doubt for the game. The South Korean midfielder suffered a hamstring injury on the opening day of the season at Chelsea.

Preview: Crystal Palace Vs Aston Villa

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Zaha contests with Monreal last weekend. Image: Stuart MacFarlane

After opening day victories, Crystal palace and Aston Villa were brought down to earth after suffering defeats in their second league games. Both sides clash hoping to banish memories of defeats they suffered last weekend. Crystal Palace suffered defeat to Arsenal last weekend after matching the Gunners for long spells, before the superior quality of Arsenal eventually showed. Villa, however, were poor against Man United and never really looked like they were going to get anything from the game.

Crystal Palace enjoyed a fine 2014/2015 season following the appointment of Alan Pardew after he decided to leave Newcastle. Their improved performance and league position was mainly due to their ability to pick points away from home. Last season, the London side claimed only six home wins. They will be aiming to improve on that record and possibly make Selhurst Park a fortress and a much more difficult place to visit this season.

Aston Villa is expected by pundits and analysts to struggle this season following the departure of some key players. Christian Benteke, Fabian Delph and Vlaar have all departed the club while the new signings continue to settle in their new environment. Aston Villa’s recent trips to London do not give too much reason for optimism though. They have only found the back of the net twice in their last 10 visits while Palace have lost just once in the last 6 league meetings between the two sides, claiming 3 wins in those games. Villa opened the season with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth before succumbing to their usual annual defeat to Manchester United. They lacked invention and inspiration at home to United. They will need to produce a better performance against a very difficult Crystal Palace who will fancy their chances against the Birmingham side.

Team News.

Crystal Palace

Bakary Sako could make his debut after missing the Arsenal game. Marouane Chamakh and Julian Speroni remain sidelined due to hamstring and hand injuries respectively.

Aston Villa

Former Barcelona striker Adama Traore is unlikely to start as his manager stated he is short of match fitness. In his absence, Jack Grealish and Carles Gil should be available for selection after recovering from injuries picked up in pre-season.

Preview: Leicester City Vs Tottenham

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Harry Kane scores in the last meeting between the sides

If the league had started on April 1 this year, Leicester City would be top of the league. They have carried on their fairytale run which saw them comfortably avoid relegation last season even though they were rooted to the bottom of the table for a very long time. A change of manager has not altered the positive feeling at City and they are one of 4 teams with a 100% record this season. Consecutive victories over Sunderland and West Ham mean that there is genuine optimism that this season will not contain another struggle to avoid relegation.

The Midland club may have lost Estaban Cambiasso on a free transfer but they have moved quickly to bring in experienced and proven Gohkan Inler from Napoli. If he has the same impact the Argentine had, it will prove to be an inspired signing. Spurs on the other hand, have had a disappointing start to the season and will want to get their season up and running. If they fail to get their first win soon, they risk been left behind by those challenging for European places. The London club do have a good record against the Foxes and have taken 10 points from a possible 12 in the last four meetings between them.

In spite of their good fortunes against the Foxes, they will know that all that will count for nothing and their contrasting fortunes this season will give Leicester some confidence going into this game. Spurs squandered a two goal lead last weekend against Stoke in a game they should have won considering they had built up a significant lead. The Foxes will be hoping that the North London Club will visit bearing similar gifts.

Claudio Ranieri has maintained the optimism around the King Power stadium. Another win will go a long way in maintaining that. Their style of play has been brilliant too. They easily dismantled Sunderland on the opening day before beating West Ham without too much discomfort in a game that was expected to be tricky. Spurs will have to be wary of the threat the opposition poses and will look to Harry Kane to continue his impressive goal scoring record against Leicester.

Team News.

Leicester City

Gokhan Inler is in line for his debut while Matty James is ruled out with a knee problem.

Tottenham

Andros Townsend (ankle) remains a doubt for Tottenham while striker Clinton N’Jie who signed from Lyon last weekend could feature for the first time.

Preview: Manchester United Vs Newcastle United

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Manchester United were dealt two heavy blows in the transfer window when targets Otamendi and Pedro agreed moves to rivals Manchester City and Chelsea respectively. They will however look to put those disappointments behind them when Newcastle United visits. They produced their best display in midweek against Club Brugge, a game which saw Memphis Depay produce his best display in a United shirt.

The Red devils have had a good but unspectacular start to the season but will be encouraged by the fact that they have picked maximum points so far this season. at this stage of the season, winning is the most important thing and not necessarily the performance.

For Newcastle United however, their past away form has been far from impressive and they are on a run of seven consecutive Premier League away defeats and has lost ten of their last thirteen league games, winning one and drawing the other two. McClaren returns to the ground where he spent more than 2 seasons as Alex Ferguson’s right hand man between 1999 and 2001. The highlight of his stint at the club was a European Champions League win. He will be well aware that he needs to get his side firing and quickly too if they are to avoid another relegation battle after they were well beaten by Swansea City last weekend.

If the recent meetings between the clubs are to be considered, Man United will expect to pick up their third consecutive win of the season having won their last three meetings with the Magpies and 25 overall since the inception of the Premier League.

Team News.

Manchester Unted

David De Gea is expected to be excluded as speculations over a probable transfer to Real Madrid refuse to go away. Marouane Fellaini remains suspended while Phil Jones misses out due to illness.

Newcastle United

Florian Thauvin who completed a move from Marseille is in line for a debut but would probably start from the bench. Daryl Janmaat is suspended after picking up a red card last week against Swansea while Moussa Sissoko remains a doubt after limping off at half time with a groin injury

Preview: Tottenham Vs Stoke

Tottenham and Stoke go in search of their first league win of the season following opening day defeats against Man United and Liverpool respectively. Stoke have however been informed that their £12m signing Xerdan Shaqiri will not be allowed to make his league debut due to a suspension gotten in Italy while playing at Inter Milan.

Both sides will be harbouring hopes of qualifying for European football at the end of the season but will be aware that they need to get their season up and running if they are not to be playing catch up so early in the season.

Tottenham will be looking for better results this season against the visitors having lost both of their Premier League games against Stoke last season. They also had a player sent off in both games (Vlad Chiriches and Kyle Naughton).

Charlie Adam, who has turned out to be a crucial player for Stoke, has had mixed fortune in his previous games against Spurs. He has scored three times but has been sent off twice in seven Premier League games in these encounters.

Tottenham will be looking to Harry Kane to lead the way. The striker is in line for his 50th Premier League appearance in this match and has scored 24 goals in 49 PL games; and will look to join an elite group which contains 15 players who have scored 25 goals in their first 50 Premier League appearances.

Team News

Tottenham

Hugo Lloris is set to start for Tottenham after head coach Mauricio Pochettino reported a fully fit squad. Andros Townsend and Danny Rose are also back in contention, while Alex Pritchard marked his return from injury with two goals for the Under-21s against the Toffees. Aaron Lennon and Emmanuel Adebayor have not been given squad numbers and may be on their way out of the club. Roberto Soldado who flopped during his time in English football has completed a move back to Spain where he will join Villareal.

Stoke

New signing Xerdan Shaqiri misses out due to suspension. Arnautovic and Marc Wilson participation remains doubtful after the pair missed last Sunday’s home loss to Liverpool due to thigh and ankle problems respectively. Peter Odemwingie (hamstring) and Bojan Krkic are unlikely to take part as well due to injuries. Ryan Shawcross faces between two and three months on the sidelines following back surgery.

Premier League Review: Match Day 1

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Courtois sees RED

Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham

Manchester United started the new season with a lacklustre win against Spurs courtesy of an own goal from Kyle Walker in the 22nd minutes. The major headline before the game was the exclusion of David de Gea by the manager due to lingering doubts about his future  at the club. In his absence, Sergio Romero was given his first start in club football since January and his manager would have been delighted with his performance as he ensured his side took all 3 points following a late onslaught from the North London side.

AFC Bournemouth 0-1 Aston Villa

Premier league newcomers Bournemouth were made to pay for their profligacy as Aston Villa began life without Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph on a positive note. The Cherries were punished for squandering a host of chances when debutant Rudy Gestede’s 72nd minute header clinched all 3 points for Villa. Tim Sherwood’s side then put up a majestic rearguard action to preserve the lead and the points. They will hope to continue on this note to avoid a repeat of last season’s relegation battle.

Everton 2-2 Watford

Substitute Arouna Kone’s late goal earned the Everton a 2-2 draw against newly promoted side Watford. Watford were hoping to mark their return to the premier league with a win. Miguel Layun put Watford in front when he rifled in a shot after the Everton defence had failed to clear their lines in the 14th minute. Everton improved as the 2nd half went on and were duly rewarded when Ross Barkley got the equalizer in the 76th minutes. However, the confidence of the home side was soon deflated when Nigerian Odion Ighalo put the visitors back in front in the 83rd minute. The drama was far from over though as a good combination between Lukaku and Kone enabled the Ivorian to score a dramatic late equalizer. It was Kone’s first Premier League goal since December 2014.

Leicester City 4-2 Sunderland

Claudio Ranieri’s tenure as Leicester city boss began with a wonderful opening day victory over Sunderland. Leicester produced a majestic first half display and went into the break with a 3-0 lead. Jamie Verdy’s header started the show before Ryad Mahrez added a brace to give the Foxes a 3-0 half time lead. Jermain Defoe gave Sunderland hope of staging a comeback but such fanciful thoughts were quickly extinguished when Marc Albrighton restored Leicester’s 3 goal lead. Steven Fletcher then scored what turned out to be a consolation making the scoreline a respectable 4-2. Sunderland will be worried about how easily their defence capitulated as they were opened up repeatedly throughout the game.

Norwich City 1-3 Crystal Palace

Cameron Jerome’s goal was controversially disallowed as Palace beat newly promoted side Norwich 3-1. Wilfred Zaha and Damien Delaney put Palace ahead after scoring in the 39th and 49th minute respectively. Nathan Redmond pulled one back for City in the 69th minute. The key moment of the game however came with 15 minutes left when Jerome thought he had equalised but was ruled out for a high boot. Star signing Yohan Cabaye then sealed the points for Palace after been put through by James McArthur.

Chelsea 2-2 Swansea City

Thibaut Courtois was sent off as the Champions held on to claim a point in an unconvincing win. Diego Costa was declared fit enough after missing the community shield with Arsenal and the friendly defeat against Fiorentina. Oscar scored a free kick midway through the first half to put the Champions in front. Swansea however were not going to go down without fighting and debutant Andre Ayew duly converted a rebound after Courtois had saved a header from Gomis. Chelsea response was immediate as they retook the lead one minute later through a Fernandez own goal. Courtois was then sent off after bringing Gomis down and the Frenchman made no mistake from 12 yards.

Arsenal 0-2 West Ham

The Gunners were brought down to earth as West Ham capitalised on uncharacteristic goalkeeping errors from Petr Cech to win 2-0. The Czech goalkeeper was brought in for his Arsenal premier league debut but it was one to forget as he misjudged Dimitri Payet’s freekick allowing Kouyate to head the Hammers ahead just before half time. Arsenal tried to get into the game and just as they were building some form of momentum, West Ham delivered the sucker punch. A hesitation in defence was duly punished as Zarate took advantage to rifle home a low strike from outside the area. The hammers then defended valiantly and made the introduction of Alexis and Walcott insignificant.

Newcastle 2-2 Southampton

Shane Long’s goal prevented Steve McClaren from claiming all the points on his premier league return against Southampton. Pelle opened the scoring for the away side after powering in a header. Papiss Cisse restored parity in the 42nd minute and Newcastle’s new signing Wijnaldum, who put in a magnificent display, put Newcastle in front in the 48th minute. Newcastle United gave an entertaining display but it wasn’t enough to maintain their lead as Long equalised in the 79th minute.

Stoke 0-1 Liverpool

The post Steven Gerrard era began for Liverpool as they were looking to banish memories of a humiliating 6-1 defeat on the same ground on the final day of last season. The match was heading to a goalless stalemate before Coutinho unleashed a characteristic thunderbolt from 25 yards in the 86th minute. Stoke didn’t have enough time to respond and went down 1 nil at home in their season opener.

West Brom 0-3 Manchester City

Manchester City made an emphatic statement of intent on Monday night by spanking West Brom 3-0. David Silva orchestrated a comprehensive victory against the host. Bony started the game for City as Aguero had to settle for a spot on the bench following his participation at the Copa America. Toure scored a brace in the first half as City went in at half time with a 2 goal lead. The win was completed in the second half by Kompany in the 59th minute. Pellegrini will be convinced by his team’s performance as they face Chelsea next weekend.

RESULT

Man United          1-0          Tottenham

Bournemouth       0-1          Aston Villa

Everton                2-2          Watford

Leicester City       4-2          Sunderland

Norwich City         1-3          Crystal Palace

Chelsea                2-2          Swansea City

Arsenal                 0-2          West Ham

Newcastle             2-2          Southampton

Stoke                    0-1          Liverpool

West Brom            0-3          Manchester City